Final thoughts, score predictions ahead of SEC Championship

SEC championship Georgia Kirby Smart planted on solid ground in unstable SEC

But don't expect the second round of this bout to be the same lopsided affair we saw on November 11.

This is the Deep South's oldest rivalry.

If these two teams are being coached as well as we think think they are, then 40-17 should be thrown out the window. The No. 2 Auburn Tigers and the No. 6 Georgia Bulldogs will meet up in Atlanta for the 2017 SEC Championship, with the victor nearly certainly advancing to the College Football Playoff.

Auburn clearly didn't fall victim to overhyping and momentum, showcased in a back-to-back win over a No. 1 team.

Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn has shifted from a reserved, quiet coach to a confident leader that resembles his demeanor from the 2013 season. Both went 8-5 a year ago, and Auburn looked down and out this season after squandering a 20-point lead at LSU.

Georgia, on the other hand, hasn't had to face much adversity all year. It was nearly like a home game for the road team.

Crews are finishing up the final preparations for the SEC Fanfare that will take place next door to the stadium at the Georgia World Congress Center. The rushing duo of Nick Chubb and Sony Michel was held to just 48 yards combined, making the run game ineffective. Jake Fromm should have an improved performance from the first time around, but that's not going to change the fact that Auburn's front four is one of the nastiest in the country.




Auburn was able to learn from the adversity. But, of course, the game is not being played at Jordan-Hare, but at a neutral site - one which might tilt towards the Bulldogs.

Managers of Mercedes-Benz Stadium say the attendance will be 70,000+ for the game, likely the largest crowd so far in the stadium's short history.

The Bulldogs' struggles in that first contest were in part due to the rowdy nature of Auburn fans on the Plains.

The rest of those tickets were made available to the SEC officials and programs, sponsors and the general public. In the first meeting weeks ago, the Tigers dominated Georgia. A big part of Auburn's success will depend on the health of Kerryon Johnson, but the Tigers are good enough to win this game without him. A finalist for three national awards, the 225-pound junior leads a Georgia defense that has allowed just 13.8 points per game.

Saturday will be no different in a rematch for the ages.

"That's pretty close", Smart said. "That is what we have been talking about. At the end of the day, this is a players' game, and we'll put them in position to make plays and see what happens". "That is what's on their mind, and that's their challenge".

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